#31 Zach Edwards
Class: RS Freshman
Position: Defensive Line
Hometown: Starkville, MS
Thoughts: Edwards was a guy the Cards picked up last season as a “hybrid” defensive end and linebacker. He played both positions for Starkville High School, right in the backyard of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Speaking of SEC teams the Cards beat out for Edwards go ahead and throw Ole Miss, Texas A&M and defending champ LSU on that same list. Over half the SEC West wanted Zach to play for them and Cort snagged him from under their noses.
Edwards, at least initially, appears to be focusing his efforts more at defensive end instead of at linebacker. He had really good size out of high school but unofficially has added close to 30 pounds just in the last year and a half. Take a peek below at his aggressiveness off the edge and his ability to track the ball carrier. I see a couple instances just in the five plus minutes of film below where you see his “football instincts” kick in to make a play which is always encouraging from a 17/18 year old.
Taking that redshirt in 2019 surely helped with his development both mentally and physically and having a guy at 6-3/265 a bit down on the depth chart is a big bonus. If you look at the two deep across the entire defensive line (DE-NT-DE) right now of those six players five of them have been in the program for four seasons or more, meaning they have a lot of experience but the Cards will need players like Edwards to step into larger roles in 2020 to position themselves as potential starters in 2021 and beyond. Guys like Boykin, Edwards, Puryear will hopefully see 2020 as an audition to become defensive leaders down the road.
I had a Crutchfield CD player I installed myself with a front face that popped off. I remember the first time that cobalt blue LED screen lit up. I thought I was big stuff in a mid-90s Cavalier. Just hand me that CD binder, sit back, and relax.